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Being the Bigger Person is Toxic Behavior

Apr 02, 2024

Hello, hello, hello…good to see you!

Magical Lesson:

It’s time to finally be free from having to be “the Bigger Person.” How Advanced Bitches do that is to really get the magnifying glass out and fully deconstruct what it means to be “the bigger person.”

Being the bigger person sounds like a great value or moral to have, but it’s fake and therefore toxic because being the bigger person is actually a commandment to be codependent, to lack autonomy, to accept bad behavior and shut the fuck up. And we fell for it. We fell for it SO hard.

Here is the only antidote that has ever worked for me: Truth. I’ve got 15 tries to break the spell of “being the bigger person.” Hold on, this might sting a little bit, but that’s what healing feels like sometimes. Turn back and delete this if you still want to keep the identity of “being the bigger person.”

You ready? Here we go:

  1. For me, a codependent with food issues/eating disorder, being the bigger person was a literal proposition. I’ve long had a theory that a lot of codependents and those with the fawn trauma response have food and weight issues because they have to swallow other people’s consequences and to cope with that, they needed to swallow actual food and a lot of it. When I allowed others to experience the consequences of their choices, I no longer had to compensate with overeating.
  2. Being the bigger person requires that I do the emotional labor in the relationship and the others can act as they please.
  3. Women are socialized to be the bigger person. Indoctrination began in childhood. I don’t hear a lot of men saying they should be the bigger person; they seem to only bring the subject up when telling women how to behave.
  4. Being the bigger person means that you are communicating that your autonomy does not matter, your boundaries are not important and you’re okay with eating shit.
  5. Being the bigger person comes at the cost of carrying a resentment that must be shoved down and usually self-medicated somehow (are you setting yourself up to be the bigger person so you can still use? I used to!)
  6. If you are the bigger person in your relationships, then by definition you attract “smaller people.” Smaller people are people who have no interest in experiencing any consequences for their behavior. Smaller people can be toxic, narcissists, alcoholics, losers, infantilized adults, abusers, trash, dumdums, and addicts. (For me, this was enough to completely eschew being the bigger person. No thank you. I want healthy relationships with kind adults.)
  7. Being the bigger person can give you the excuse you need not leave a toxic relationship.
  8. Being the bigger person is your sad little trophy for being so good for walking on eggshells and shutting your mouth.
  9. If you still want to be the bigger person, understand that the cost is your voice, your soul, your truth, access to your feelings, self-expression, creativity and can impede your growth (how much advanced personal growth work or art can be accomplished if you are using your energy to “be the bigger person?”)
  10. Being the bigger person is manipulative – it’s not honest or real. To “be the bigger person,” you must lie about how you really feel, so you hide and pretend to manipulate the other person to still like you or to keep the peace.
  11. Being the bigger person gives you martyr status and a lot of codependents get off on that because somehow that makes them more holy or a “better person.” A lot of people use “being the bigger person” and taking the high road as confirmation of their goodness. I did. I felt so proud to be the bigger person, which I ultimately understood that I was so proud of being a fucking doormat.
  12. Being the bigger person is a silencing tool and designed for you to create a persona of being a bigger person rather than truly being in touch with your authentic self. Therefore, being the bigger person delays the development of the self, which is crucial in healing CPTSD. How can you have true self-esteem, self-acceptance, self-love etc. if you are living from a persona or an adopted identity as “a bigger person.”
  13. No one is telling narcissists, bullies or abusers to be the bigger person. It’s only told to victims or the vulnerable…or those who will fall for it hook, line and sinker.
  14. If “you should be the bigger person,” comes from your own head, you can know that your inner saboteur is in charge and not your authentic Self. You learned it and it can be unlearned. Thank you for your service inner saboteur, but I don’t need to be the bigger person to survive anymore. I’ve got better tools for living honestly now.
  15. Finally, “being the bigger person” is gross because it puts me on a pedestal of condescension. “I’m so much better and cleverer than you because I’m the bigger person.” I don’t want to be bigger or better, I just want to be me and exist in healthy, reciprocal relationships where no one has to take the toxic role of being the bigger person. I just want to love and be loved.

Magical Action Step*:

Notice! Start noticing everyone who says it and what you think they’re up to.

Let me know which of these things woke up something in you that made you realize that “being the bigger person” no longer serves you. Which one did the trick? Send me a DM on IG to let me know that you’re D-O-N-E DONE. I’m so excited for you.

*Disclaimer: Although I am a Licensed Professional Counselor, I offer these Advanced Lessons in Personal Growth and Magical Action Step as a CPTSD Kid who is doing the work to heal and sharing the magic I learn along the way. In the 12-step world, we call that sharing our experience, strength, and hope. This is not intended to be psychotherapy. Some of the lessons and assignments could be triggering, so I recommend if you do find them triggering to stop reading/not try them and to immediately seek the support and expertise of a professional psychotherapist.


With so much love and fairy dust,


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